Feathered Facts: Waxwings
Unmistakable in their coloring, cedar waxwings have silky brown feathers above and olive-yellow below, with a black mask, yellow tail tips and crest, and red, waxy-looking wing tips. Bohemian waxwings have grayer bellies, white wing patches, and rust color on the tail.
- According to Tom Carpenter, author of NHGC's The Gardener's Bird Book, cedar waxwings were almost exterminated in the late 1800s because their cured, feathered skins were popular ornaments on Victorian ladies' hatbands.
- Waxwings like to travel in flocks of a dozen to a hundred. They will line up on limbs or power lines and pass fruit down the ranks till one eats it.
- Waxwings nest later than most songbirds. This is probably connected to the availability of ripening fruits.
- Although they eat insects, waxwings love fruits and berries, especially red ones. Cherry trees, currants, chokecherries, and other fruiting plants may bring a flock of waxwings to your yard. Raisins, currants, or chopped apples or figs may attract them to feeders. But be aware of gustatory overload: Waxwings are known to gobble so much fruit that they can't fly!
Thursday, December 16, 2010 11:15 AM
Did not know they can overeat. They also love the berries of Mahonias and sometimes they come to shallow pond to bathe. I just love them.
Saturday, December 18, 2010 1:33 PM
Around our area, Anchorage, AK, there are a lot of Mountain Ash trees. Now that the fruit has been frozen we seem to get a lot of Waxwings. They will make periodic visits to the tree until it is stripped.
Thursday, July 14, 2011 7:07 AM
I've been trying to attract waxwings to my feeders in St. Louis, MO since April. I checked my bird books and they say the waxwings come to my region, but I haven't seen any. I would love to draw these gorgeous birds to my backyard feeders. Any tips?
Saturday, July 23, 2011 1:35 PM
My husband & I rescued to babies last weekend. What a treat. The mother came and feed them and preened them until they could fly well enough to take off with their clan.
Both babies and mother were grateful. The babies would actually fly to sit on our shoulders. They liked to be around us. I would guess due to their social behavior traits.
Monday, July 25, 2011 8:37 PM
I had over 2 dozen Ceder Waxwings land in a tree across from my house as they were going back north . The morning sun hit them made them stand out and they looked so beautiful because the trees did not have any leaves on them. They stayed around for quite some time and i got realy good pictures.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 10:58 AM
We get them alot in my yard. They love our California Pepper tree. and literally hang upside down eating the pink berries! They all fly in together and make pigs of themselves, then all fly off together again. what a treat!
Tuesday, August 09, 2011 11:32 AM
I read where the waxwings would gorge themselves till they couldn't fly. I had never heard of that. I'm surprised they didn't do that in my Japanese persimmon tree. They come each fall and eat the bloom ends of the fruit that has fallen off. The waxwing, I think is the most noble looking bird I've ever seen. I really love them.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 3:35 PM
Friday, November 16, 2012 10:19 PM
We have had Waxwings come to our Honeysuckle bushes, their berries are red also.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 8:45 AM
We have large flocks eating in our cedar trees. They also like holly berries. I had heard that they will eat fermented fruit, get intoxicated and be unable to fly. They are beautiful to see. The really large flocks seem to come about every other year to our property.